Monday, 28 June 2004

Other Bloggers 2

Some new tips for surfing bloggers:

An Immigrating One: The Land Below Sea Level
A Cute One (I might fancy dark... :-): Changing Colours
A Green One: SK Journal
A Confusing One: Love Is Unpredictable

Next week hopefully some more!


I am leaving for Albania tomorrow and actually have tons of things to do, but have to write something as well. It starts to get an addiction, so strange.
A strange feeling slowly takes possession of my stomach: excitement, fear and curiosity. How will it be, how are the people, how is the work, will they accept me, can I do what they want me to do? I have no idea where I will end up, but that is also the fun of it. Don't know where I will live, what kind of work I will do and if it is a nice country. If I had chosen Cuba, Pakistan or Burkina Faso (well ok, not the latter) I might have had a better idea what I can expect as these countries are more commonly known. The thing is that I always want to be different and strange, so I picked Albania. Around this time tomorrow, I will be somewhere, though not knowing where... Ain't travelling just great?
Just went out for some last shopping: bought some new trousers and shirts and as usual spend too much money. :) I told the guy in the shop where I was going to and he started to talk about people in long, black dresses. Clearly, he had no idea where Albania is situated... The recent discussion in The Netherlands about immigrants who have to take a naturalization course can be seen from a completely different perspective if the Dutch took a Europe course...

Saturday, 26 June 2004

Music Tips 2

One day late, but here it is again: “Some songs that everyone should have in their mp3-collection”:

Nelly Furtado - Forca
Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms
U2 – Where The Streets Have No Name
The Nits - Cabins
Eagle-Eye Cherry - Save Tonight
Patrick Bruel – Cassez La Voix (LIVE)

Featured Artist of the Week: Lizz Wright

more to come next week....


I love visits. Visits from friends, strangers or family. Visits to friends, less family and strangers. The last one is for me the most fun I think, as it give you a peek into someone else's life. For example on holiday: to visit a Greek birthday, a Czech evening party (and drink too much) and an invitation to drink tea in Bangkok. It is friendly, open, uncomplicated and honest. Strangers (= foreigners) love to open their homes and world for you and show you how their life is. Of course it also has something to do with hospitality, but they also enjoy the company of a stranger with whom they cannot communicate at all other than with their hands.
What is strange in our Dutch culture is that you are supposed to make an appointment before visiting someone. This doesn’t work for me as I like the spontaneous and the unexpected. I understand that some people have many things to do and that it can mess up their plans, but I don’t find it really disturbing. I prefer have someone standing on my doorstep than that I have to make an appointment all the time. If someone drops by I will always have time and offer a drink or whatever, even if it is 5am. Luckily for me no one ever stood on my doorstep at that time, but you are invited if you want to (gimme a call before so I can prepare…) :)

Thursday, 24 June 2004

The Flying Dutch

Well, a miracle has happened: the Dutch football team qualified for the quarterfinals of the EC 2004. What no one expected anymore and what many feared after the Czech Republic announced to play with a "B"-team against Germany, did not became reality. We played a great match against Latvia, which was not able to uphold their good play of the last two matches against Germany and the CR. Germany was not allowed to win from the Czechs, and it was frightening to see that they scored first and came to 1-0. Luckily, the Czechs wanted revenge for '96 and even their B-team was able to outclass the Germans with 1-2.
The Dutch coach was critized heavily after the last match and if we would not proceed; the best advice for him was not to show up in NL for a couple of weeks. But how strange are we when we tear him down to the ground one moment and praise him into heaven the next? The public's opinion can easily swap from one side to another, especially when it deals with football. Now Advocaat can walk around again and no one will critize him anymore for his horrendous substitution against the Czechs. We are funny and strange...
Last but not least: I started to love the Czech Republic since my first visit back in 1990 and will love it until I die. The Dutch population humbly kneels and thanks the Czechs!

Tuesday, 22 June 2004

Kind of Carnaval in Slovenia Posted by Hello

Other Bloggers

Check out some other Bloggers, whom I've discovered recently:

A funny one: Ham's Blog
A starting one: Simply Will
A strange one: Weird Ones
A real one: My So Called Life

Hope to publish every monday some new Blogs for you. Enjoy!

Monday, 21 June 2004


It is so pleasant and unexpectedly to get to know that you are not a cold iceberg. I imagined at last the picture of sinking the Titanic, this wonderful liner crashed by a block of ice. The woman is like a fragrant and tender flower which needs sun, gentle breeze and warm rain. The dreams as mirages in the desert excite the imagination, intoxicate and give a hope to find a fairy oasis.
It is pleasant for me to know that somewhere afar there is a man who understands and share my mood.
When a quiet night comes to the houses, the town gets quiet, the dreams seize slowly our sleepy consciousness. In the kingdom of dreams everything gets alive. Our secret wishes and even fears get nearly real. It is surprising and so exciting. People have to strive to make these illusions real.

Sunday, 20 June 2004

Fool’s Overture

Last Tuesday I received an SMS from a German friend, when Germany scored 0-1 against Holland. It said: “Ohne Holland gehen wir ins Finale”, as in “Without Holland we go to the finals.” Although that was a bit too optimistic, as we played 1-1, it set the tone for the EC. My German colleagues teased me a lot last year that we didn’t qualify for the WC in Korea/Japan and were wondering if Dutch could play football at all. Now is the latter not really a question as Dutch players are celebrated all over the world for their qualities and every major club has at least one Dutch player. Though, when we have to perform as a team on European or World level, we simply do not seem to be able to reach that high level of playing. 1974 and 1988 were our peaks and since, not much has happened. In my opinion we have a great team now, with good defenders, good mid-fielders and a superb attack. We have some of the best attackers in the world and still we are struggling to score.
Yesterday’s match was a show without any precedence; it had all a real football-fan looks for: horror, goals, tricks, rushes, superb saves and a winner. When Van Nistelrooij scored the 2-0, I though one moment about sending my German friend an SMS, especially after German’s hilarious draw against Latvia. However, I learned not to cheer before the last whistle, so I refrained from sending it and by God was I happy that I didn’t. How can such a superb team as ours, fail to keep a 2 point advantage to the Czechs. No bad word about them though, they played great as well, but are not expected to be as good as the Dutch.
An idiotic pass from Cocu (who is now definitely too old for the next EC and WC!), led to the 2-1; a very strange substitution for Robben (who is from my hometown…), who played superb and was man of the match; and the red card for Heitinga did the job. I have to admit that the referee was also not really in our favour, but ok, you can’t win them all. We should have won there…
Holland is a country that lives for its national team and the matches it plays. In no other country you can see people getting as crazy as here. People painting their houses orange, whole streets with orange-flags, orange beer, orange everything. Companies use this nationalism very well by giving gadgets with their products: orange hats, orange Heineken caps and speakers, T-shirts and many, many more. It’s a hilarious sight, but beautiful as well and there is no better atmosphere than with the matches the Dutch play. A stadium filled with the Orange Legion: it is really a great sight and only the Brazilians can compete with that.
Getting back to the EC now: we are 3rd and are completely dependent on the Czechs as we have to win from Latvia and Germany must loose. We hope that the Czechs will do their sportive obligation to play a decent match against the Germans, but we expect the worst. Nedved already said that he will not play, so dark clouds are packing above the Dutch. I fear we won’t make it to the quarter finals and that we can go home again next week.
Going home will have some advantages though: Advocaat will be fired, as I don’t think we ever had such a bad coach and all orange will be removed from the houses and we can continue our normal life again. What I hope? A final between Greece and Latvia: that would be a stunt… Cruijf, Van Basten, Gullit where are you????????

Friday, 18 June 2004

Music Tips

Some songs that everyone should have in their mp3-collection:

Something Happens - Parachute
Haiducii - Dragostea Din Tei
Dave Koz - Together Again
Counting Crows - Holiday in Spain (feat. Blof) and Mr. Jones (accoustic)
Coldplay - Clocks
Black Crows - She Talk To Angels
Moby - Everloving

Featured Artist of the Week: Joss Stone

more to come next week....


I am someone who changes his MSN-nick frequently. If not multiple times a day, than certainly once a day. The advantage of having such an extended MSN-list, is that all kinds of nick pass by. You can see that some show their moods, some just have their real names and never change them and some just put up the most idiotic names. I would like to give a short overview of some of the names that I see coming online.

J.F.P. e V.B.F / ¤¥O amor é lindo¥¤ / Há males que vêm para o bem! (all Brazil)
Disgusted Ref / WHY are all the babes in the library??? / Länsförsäkringsbolangens ABZ / I love your eyes...but only with KETCHUP!!! (all Malta)
Why can’t the boys be the toys that the girls want the boys to be…? (NL)
ИВАН (Serbia)
The world is book and those who do not travel read only a page (NL)
TRUST ME… I am a Lawyer (Turkey)
The only thing in life you'll regret are the risks you didn't take (NL)
sure, whenever you like / is anyone enthusiast of photography (digital)? let me know (all Slovenia)
Look at how she moves... must have some sort of build-in motor / don’t assume. It makes an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me'. / Te audire non possum. Musa sapientum fixa est in aure (all NL) There was no life before coffee (Russia)
Confused & Chaotic / A pair of Dutch Chimps, sending their love from Amsterdam (all NL-Malta)

Messages & Comments

My Blog is now almost two weeks old and I have to say it is fun to do. Writing a story everyday on my English page is more difficult than on the Dutch one, but I blame it on the language. It is always easier to write in one’s mother tongue; not only the writing, but also the thinking. Last year in Germany I started to think in German as well after a few months, than it is also easier to write in that language. It went really fast though: the change from Dutch to German. When I returned home for Christmas I had difficulties speaking Dutch and used a lot of German words or translated German words literally in Dutch ones.
I have 100+ visitors now, but looking at providers of my visitors I have to admit that I am probably the one who visits my page most… This for sure has to change as I am not writing all this for myself: I have it in my head already, no need to write it down other than sharing it with others. So if you, my dear reader, think that this is any fun to read or just shows how shallow-minded I am: pass the word and get me some more visitors. Though I have around 80 people in my MSN list, not all of them have visited my blog and I am a little disappointed in them. My MSN-name has been the link to this page for so long, but not many really get it…
Something else bothers me as well: I have speared no effort to get me a “Comment”-link (below, right, every post) and a writing box on the right, but hardly anyone uses it! Why the hell do I have such things if no one wants to use them? It is the ideal opportunity to give your opinions and criticize me. I have to thank Esteban for being the only one who has written a comment. Thanks Money Man! Single Treasurers Belong Together (though I suddenly remember you weren’t in Alanya)!
I hope my critical notes have some effect and that I will see some more comments and visitors within the next weeks. I am doing this for you, not for myself!

Monday, 14 June 2004

The Notorious Sign With Our Super-Car! Posted by Hello


In 1999 I travelled to Greece with two friends of mine. I went for the 3rd time and they for the first, so we planned to do a extensive roundtrip to visit the most sights in this short amount time. We borrowed the Suzuki Swift from my parents, put the ski-box for our Volvo 850 on top of it and took off to explore Greece for about 4 till 5 weeks. A Swift is not really a flashy car or a car to impress the local females with, but with such a box on top of it (almost as long as the whole car), we didn't have a chance at all. Driving up the Brenner was a mission on its own, which we achieved, but not really at our top speed (driving the heavy traffic lane is no fun). The boat trip from Venice to Patra was great and we had a lot of fun. Already on the first day we got lost, as we tried to take a white road, which leaded into a totally deserted area with only sad and stones as pavement. Turning was possible, but to drive up the hill again was a bit too much for our little car. Both gentlemen had to push as I tried to drive it up the hill again. Nice dust clouds behind the car, their hand-prints clearly visible on the back of the car and a lot of sweat later, we succeeded. I can tell so many funny, sad and exciting stories about this holiday, but I only want to tell you 1 more. On one of the last days from our stay in the northern part of Greece, we tried to look for another sight which was on the map. It was not very hard to find, as signs showed us the way and the road was doable. Confused we were when we came on top of a hill with no sight at all and no signs anymore. We parked the car and went down the road to the sea, but nowhere a sight to be seen. We got annoyed by this and drove back to the bottom of the hill. There the last sign which lead us up the hill became the target of our frustration: we tore down the sign and hid it in the ski-box. Nowadays it hangs as a trophy in the living room of one of my friends. (My Greek friends will not like this revelation I guess :)) see pic.

Three Brothers... Posted by Hello

Saturday, 12 June 2004


"Politics is war without the bloodshed" - Mao Tse-Tung

Thursday, 10 June 2004

A Threatened Nation

Yesterday’s newspaper: an article about the dangers The Netherlands are facing due to possible terrorist attacks. Today’s newspaper: the Minister of Interior Affairs (who deals with state security) was not aware of these threats and had to read about it in the media. This might say something about our government, the communication within the government or between the government and the security agencies, but it gives a clear signal that something is wrong. When I talk to my European friends I usually say that The Netherlands is one of the best places to live. Not because of the weather of course, but because of the social and political climate. We are a liberal country with a lot of freedom and possibilities for everyone and quite frankly: not many countries can say so as well. Just to give an example: we are being criticised for our drug policies, but we have one of the lowest addiction percentages in Europe. We have one of the highest welfare standards in Europe and one of the lowest unemployment percentages. I can therefore say: Holland Rocks!
Now my lovely small country is threatened by terrorists. It doesn’t make sense to me: we are so liberal, we allow Muslims to practice their religion without any restrictions, we build Mosques for them, and we even allow party meeting of the Grey Wolves (which Turkey doesn’t like that much). Hundreds of millions of Euros flow to Third World countries every year for development (we pay the most of all developed countries!) and still terrorists want to attack us? It makes really no sense, as we haven’t been the aggressor since we fought in Indonesia. We contribute soldiers to most of the UN Peacekeeping missions and always condemn human rights violations. What good reason would terrorists have to attack us? In my opinion: none! A terrorist attack would only make the situation in The Netherlands worse and would not do the terrorists’ case any good. We would fear and look different to our Muslim fellow countrymen; we would stop development projects and withdraw our troops from several missions. Attacking The Netherlands would not do any good. If terrorists would really want to achieve something, than they should kill as many US soldiers in Iraq or bomb US civilian targets 1 or 2 days before the US elections. That way they would make sure that Bush will not be re-elected and Kerry would withdraw a lot of US troops. Just leave The Netherlands alone!

Wednesday, 9 June 2004

A Powerful Russian Locomotive Posted by Hello


Just to tell you: I just love trains. I love to travel with them, just sit and watch the landscape change and see thing you normally don't see. I have travelled quite some kilometres with trains in Europe and outside and am still not fed up with them. Yes, they have delays and yes, you might have to stand once in a while, but the atmosphere, the sounds, the views, the people: it is really my most favourite means of transportation. It is more relaxing than a car, more comfortable than a plane and faster than a bike. The only that could match it probably is a boat, but as I don't travel that often with boats, I prefer trains. My favourite train in Europe is undoubtedly the ICE in Germany. During my board year in Germany I have used this train so many times and it is fast, has good seats (so much better and larger than in the French TGV), runs on time, has a bistro or a bar, free music and great looks. It is always a real pleasure to travel with them and the routes they take are partly really breathtaking. In many countries in Europe I have travelled by train: the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Portugal, Greece, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, the United Kingdom and hopefully Albania this summer. Two routes are carved in my memory: from Munich to Ljubljana through Austria and from Frankfurt to Cologne along the river Rhine. The views, especially in winter, are just stunning and too good to be true. There are even more beautiful routes though, but they are not in Europe. Taking the train in Thailand is also a very special experience, especially if you take the train that goes up the river Kwai. It might be the surroundings, the feeling that you travel in an oriental country or just the spectacular views: taking the train there and sit with the commoners is just special. Even more if you hang outside the train in the door opening. However, all my experiences and travels by train are peanuts when compared to the mother of trains: the TransSiberia Express. Last summer a dream came true when Christina and I travelled from St. Petersburg to Beijing by train. Although the part between St. Petersburg and Moscow is not really included in the TransSiberia Express, we just started there, as St. Petersburg is a city which you are not allowed to miss when you are in Russia. Although tourists are placed in a wagon only for tourists, you can still move around and go to the commoners' wagons if you want. The first and second class wagons are mostly occupied with tourists or wealthier families; the third class is solely for the normal people. Those wagons are packed with luggage, people, animals and a smell that makes you want to vomit. If you want to experience the life of the normal russians you should not take the real TransSiberia Express, but the slower trains that stop at every little village and which have no beds or hot water. The TransSiberia Express only stops at the bigger stations and the most famous of them are Omsk, Irkutsk, Ulaan Batar and finally Beijing (although that last part after Irkutsk is TransMongolian, as the TransSiberia goes to Vladivostok). Traveling with this ancient and enormous train is something everyone should once do. It might be quite boring at some times, as forests tend to look the same in Siberia, but to see the plains in Siberia, to grasp the enormity and overwhelming beauty of Mongolia and to see the Chinese wall pass by make all up for it. To see an officer standing at every train crossing with his flag held up high so the train is allowed to pass, to see wooden villages in a further deserted landscape, to buy food from out of your window from locals at stations as the bistro on board is out of food, to have to wait 7 hours in the middle of nowhere in Russia (literally) for a locomotive to come and bring you to Mongolia, to be lifted up at the Chinese border as they have to change the wheels with a shorter diameter, to just sit and watch the landscape pass by. When I used to travel with my parents, I always read a book and never looked out of the window; this travel made me look out of my window as there was so much to see and I didn't want to miss a single thing. Words are not enough to describe what we have seen during that travel and how overwhelmed one can be by the landscape and the people. I have to do it one more time, but now from Vladivostok back to Moscow and in winter! How beautiful must that be...

Monday, 7 June 2004

The Weekend

I am not really a big party animal, but this weekend was for me quite heavy. First on Friday a friend of mine came over, I cooked dinner (yes, a real dinner from a recipe!) and we went to a dancing-show. It was quite modern and frankly I am not that fond of modern dancing. I never go to any dancing shows, but if I had to I would prefer ballet or jazz dance. This was a bit too experimental for me, though for less than an hour it was doable. After that we went to my place and drank some wine and talked about life... Saturday during the day, not much to do. Just went out for some shopping, bought some new shoes and studied some more. In the evening went to see Troy. Well, what to say about it. According to my limited knowledge of Greek mythology it was more or less correct, except for some mistakes, but made on purpose for the storyline as I understood. The movie was entertaining, no doubt about that, but something was missing. No idea what it was, but the feeling I had when watching Ben Hur or Spartacus was more intense and more alive. The movie forces you to like the Troyans and dislike the Greeks, although the Troyan prince does the wrong thing. So seeing the movie and knowing the end, you will not get a happy end, which everyone would like to see. Good entertainment for 2.5 hours, but I have seen them better. After the movie I looked at my mobile and saw that a friend of mine from Nijmegen sent me an SMS, that she was coming to Groningen 1 day early and if I was going out at night. Since I had nothing planned, I looked forward to it, the only thing was that I could not reach her back as my mobile was disconnected from the server. Calling to the UK had cost me over 300€ and I couldn't pay that whole bill at once, so my provider cut me off: I could receive, but not send. So I went home to look for one of my old mobile, which should still have a pre-paid card in it. Luckily there was also still some money on it. So we agreed to meet at the centre square in the city. Around 12o'clock I was there, but she wasn't and as I couldn't reach her (she didn't pick up her phone), I sat for another half an hour. After that time I went into a bar to look for her, and of course I found her. She was with a group and just wanted to test one bar first, then call me and move to the next bar. The thing was we only left the bar when it closed at 2, so if she then would have called me, I would have been asleep already. We went from one bar to another, just to show her and her friends around in the very exciting nightlife of Groningen. We ended up in the Tapperij, which is a bar that is only fun after 3o'clock and when you are very drunk. Bringing in mind that I don't drink, you can image how thrilled I was to enter there. Lot's of very drunk people, throwing around with beer and singing very silly Dutch songs. Not my idea of a great evening, but ok. Around 5 we were still dancing when suddenly a friend of hers fainted right next to me. In your mind and in movies you are always fast enough to catch the lady, but I was way too late and within no time she was lying between movingfeets and spilled beer. We dragged her out and provided her with some water and salt. It appeared that she had a low blood pressure and that it happens more often. She sure scared the hell out of me though... It was an abrupt end of the evening. They came to Groningen to row on Sunday for some match and their first heat started at 11.30, so image the rowing speed the next day. The only problem was that I hadpromisedd to come and watch them, which meant that I had to get up at 10, take a shower, get on my racing bike, cycle 30min., arrive there already sweating and seeing them cross the finish line last in a time of 2.20min. Such a disappointment... I couldn't witness the next heat, as I had to return home for a dinner with my hockeyteam. We placed a bet though that they wouldn't reach the 2.15min time. The winners of their heat rowed a 2.11 time, so 2.15 was possible and they had done that before. Got an email in the evening: I can find us a fancy restaurant: they rowed 2.18...


In the monthly magazine that comes with my daily newspaper, I read this weekend about the blog of Salam Pax who writes about the life in Iraq before and after the invasion of the American troops. Nowadays he is a kind of celebrity with his blog published in book form and with his own vlog for the BBC. The idea of becoming a celebrity just by writing in your blog is appealing and opens a world of possibilities. Who doesn't want to become a celebrity himself or herself? Guess everyone would sometimes love to be one, but as usual you are confronted with the reality that you will never be one. The same chances apply to winning the lottery or be spotted as the new top-model. The circumstances are quite different though: Salam has the oportunity to tell and show the world how it is to live one day under a dictator and the next under an occupying force. To witness all what happens in Iraq and share that with the world. Although he is not like the average Iraqi, as he was educated in Austria, gay and has Western views of the world. These are things that make his articles so recognizable for us Western people and why we started to love him so much. At the peaks of his popularity he had around 50,000 visitors per day, although it only started to communicate with a friend in Jordania. Now he is too busy with other projects that he rarely writes on his blog anymore and he hasn't seen one of his friends, with whom he started the blog, for months. He might be a celebrity now with nice contracts with f.e. the BBC, but he still lives in occupied territory and has to fear for his life every day as well. Should I envy him?

Saturday, 5 June 2004

The Four Musketeers On Their Way To Conquer Greece (summer 2000) Posted by Hello

The First Day Of My Existence

A friend of mine started a Weblog a few weeks ago and after visiting his blog every day, I got the idea to make one of my own. Although it is hard work to keep this blog updated and filled with new, funny, sad and other stories, it is also fun to do and quite addicting. I have no idea if I can keep up, to write something every day, but I will do my best and with the summer coming it should be doable. The only problem is that I have 2 blogs now: 1 in Dutch and one in English. Might be a bit too much, but as I have so many friends who don't speak Dutch (most of the people in my MSN-list) I have to have one in English too.
I am not that sophisticated or smart, although I often pretend to be just that. So at the moment I am reading "Il Principe" of Niccolo Macchiavelli to broaden my view and pick up some things that might be interesting or usefull for me. I got it as a present from a friend of mine, who has more wisdom and experience in mind, so I think he might gave me the book with a purpose. Sometimes I tend to be a little arrogant and dominating, yes, but never in a suppressive or annoying way. The book might help me to develop that a bit further. It might be an idea to become Prime Minister of the Netherlands as well in a few years. Regarding what our current PM does and how he behaves and looks: come on! (to use a very popular phrase of a friend of mine) At the international level as well as the national, the Netherlands is a big joke with this man as its spokesman. He might be very adorable and sweet with his family at home, but he is not a strong and convincing leader. Give me Bolkestein of the Liberal Party. How controversial he might be; he has undoubtedly a strong voice, opinion and charisma. Someone you can put next to Bush or Berlusconi and he will make raw meat out of them.
It should not be all too political here, so I will finish here: have to study as well. 13 Exams in 4 weeks! I am nuts...


My personal world map

Visited Countries
Visited Countries Map from TravelBlog